Southern Company Third Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Southern Company (NYSE:SO) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. Southern Company, through its operating companies, provides electric service in four Southeastern states.

Southern Company Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for net income of $1.03 per share, a rise of 5.1% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from $1.07. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It has been unchanged at $1.03 during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting profit of $2.55 per share, a rise of 7.6% from last year.

Last quarter, the company came in at net income of 71 cents per share against a mean estimate of profit of 64 cents per share, beating estimates after missing them in the previous quarter. In the first quarter, it missed forecasts by one cent.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 7.5% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $5.72 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts seem relatively indifferent about Southern Company with 12 of 18 analysts surveyed maintaining a hold rating.

A Look Back: In the second quarter, profit rose 17.8% to $620 million (70 cents a share) from $526.4 million (61 cents a share) the year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations. Revenue rose 7.5% to $4.52 billion from $4.21 billion.

Key Stats:

The increase in profit in the second quarter broke a streak of two consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit decreases. The figure dropped 14.2% in the first quarter and 36.1% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Revenue rose in the second quarter after seeing a drop the quarter before. In the first quarter, revenue fell 3.5%.

Competitors to Watch: Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR), Progress Energy, Inc. (NYSE:PGN), Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK), SCANA Corporation (NYSE:SCG), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE), PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL), Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D), American Electric Power Co., Inc. (NYSE:AEP), and FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE).

Stock Price Performance: During July 27, 2011 to October 20, 2011, the stock price had risen $3.54 (8.9%) from $39.73 to $43.27. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between April 25, 2011 and May 4, 2011 when shares rose for eight-straight days, rising 3.9% (+$1.45) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between May 19, 2011 and May 27, 2011 when shares fell for seven-straight days, falling 2.5% (-$1.01) over that span. Shares are up $6.40 (+17.4%) year to date.

(Source: Xignite Financials)

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